Dave DeBusschere, who was fired last Friday as the New York Knicks' executive vice president and director of basketball operations, said yesterday he was "shocked, stunned and terribly hurt" by his dismissal and termed himself the scapegoat for Gulf and Western, the conglomerate that owns Madison Square Garden, the Knicks and the NHL's New York Rangers.
During an emotional one-hour news conference at a midtown Manhattan restaraunt, DeBusschere said, "I feel maligned, not by the tough luck of physical injuries on our ball club or at times those most personal comments about my alleged inaction. I feel maligned rather by the big-business structure of those who restricted my way, or any other general manager's way, of intelligently and instinctively creating a great basketball organization.
"I contend and insist that running a big business and running a professional basketball team, although both rely on business acumen, truly have nothing to do with each other . . .
On the firing itself, DeBusschere said, "I'm not happy about the way it was handled. I didn't believe dignity was given. If there was displeasure, it was never explained to me. If there were problems, tell me. I'm a big man. I would have resigned gracefully. We're human beings with self-respect . . . "
The Washington Bullets became the first NBA team to officially recognize the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday, Jan. 20. And Jeff Malone, Cliff Robinson, Dudley Bradley and Tom McMillen were among Bullets signing a "Living the Dream" pledge.